Russian Serfdom VII: Siberians and Old Believers

The conquest of Siberia! Kinda. Sort of. Well, in name at least. How in the hell did the Russians manage to grab the northern expanses all the way to the Pacific? Find out today. Also, who were the Old Believers and what zany adventures did their founder get up to? Find that out too. Nick answers all the burning questions you never knew you had.

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Co-hosts: Nick and Anna

Time/place: Russia c.1500-1800-ish CE

Dead Idea: Russian serfdom

A Map of Russia, 1834 CE, by Adam McKithern

russia_1834-page-001

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Glossary of Russian Words and Spellings

  • aul (ah-OOL) – a Caucasian mountain hut
  • bárshchina (BAHR-shchee-nah) – dues paid in labor to landlord; corvée
  • brat na braty (BRAT na BRA-tee) – the “brother for brother” system in which half the adult laborers of a commune worked the landlord’s fields on any given day.
  • burmistr (BOOR-mee-stur) – bailiff, manager of an estate
  • chernaia (CHUR-nai-yuh) – chimney-less hut
  • desiatina (DEE-syah-tee-nah) – a unit of area equal to 2.7 acres
  • izbá (eez-BAH) – hut
  • kholop (hah-LOHP) – slave
  • krepostnoi (kray-PAHST-noy) – serf
  • mir (MEER) – peasant commune; also means “world”, “peace”
  • obrók (ahb-ROHK) – dues paid in kind or money to landlord
  • oprichnina (ah-PREECH-nee-nah) – secret police of Ivan the Terrible
  • poméshchik (pah-MYEE-shuhk) – servitor landlord
  • Pomórskaia (POH-mohr-skai-yuh)– Old Belief, referring to liturgical forms retained from before the reforms of 1652-1658
  • saklya (SACK-lee-yuh) – a Caucasian mountain hut
  • sótskii (SOHT-skee) – peasant/serf assigned to keep order on an estate; lit. “hundredth” and in charge of 100 households
  • stárosta (STAH-us-tuh) – village elder
  • tiaglo (tee-ah-GLUH) – husband-wife work team
  • upravitel (oop-rah-VEE-tul) – steward, bailiff
  • versta (vyeer-STAH) – a unit of distance equal to 0.663 miles or 1.067 km

Main Sources

Avakkum. (1950/2003). “The Life of Archpriest Avakkum.” In: Fedotov, G. P., Ed. (1950/2003). The Way of a Pilgrim and Other Classics of Russian Spirituality. Iswolsky, H., Trans. Mineola, NY: Dover.

Buggle, J. C., and Nafziger, S. (2015). “Long-Run Consequences of Labor Coercion: Evidence from Russian Serfdom.” Retrieved Jan. 7, 2017, from: http://www.johannesbuggle.com/docs/serfdom_1.4.pdf

Domar, E. (1970). “The Causes of Slavery or Serfdom: A Hypothesis.” The Journal of Economic History, 30(1): 18-32. Retrieved Jan. 7, 2017, from: https://www.cambridge.org/core/journals/journal-of-economic-history/article/div-classtitlethe-causes-of-slavery-or-serfdom-a-hypothesisdiv/B6055D4D909C9D21B79BB42D2CD952C5

Fedotov, G. P., Ed. (1950/2003). The Way of a Pilgrim and Other Classics of Russian Spirituality. Iswolsky, H., Trans. Mineola, NY: Dover.

Gogol, N. V. (1834). Taras Bulba and Other Tales. Cournos, J, ed. Retrieved Mar 16, 2017, from: http://www.gutenberg.org/files/1197/1197-h/1197-h.htm

Gorshkov, B. B. (2005). A Life Under Russian Serfdom: The Memoirs of Savva Dmitrievich Purlevskii 1800-1868. New York: Central European University Press.

Hoch, S. L. (1986). Serfdom and Social Control in Russia: Petrovskoe, A Village in Tambov. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

Kolchin, P. (1987). Unfree Labor: American Slavery and Russian Serfdom. Cambridge, MA: Belknap Press of Harvard University Press

Lincoln, W. (1994). The Conquest of a Continent: Siberia and the Russians. New York: Random House.

MacKay, J. (2009). Four Russian Serf Narratives. Madison, WI: University of Wisconsin Press.

Markevich, A., and Zhuravskaya, E. (2016). “The Economic Effects of the Abolition of Serfdom: Evidence from the Russian Empire.” Retrieved Jan. 7, 2017, from: http://piketty.pse.ens.fr/files/MarkevitchZhuravskaya2016.pdf

Moley, H. (1866). Sketches of Russian Life Before and During the Emancipation of the Serfs. London: Chapman and Hall.

Nafziger, S. (2013). “Russian Serfdom, Emancipation, and Land Inequality: New Evidence.” Retrieved Jan. 7, 2017, from: http://www.ucrs.uu.se/digitalAssets/336/c_336060-l_3-k_serfdom_emancipation_inequality_steven_nafziger.pdf

Nafziger, S. (2011). “Serfdom, Emancipation, and Economic Development in Tsarist Russia.” Retrieved Jan. 7, 2017, from: 12.161.242.125/dotAsset/60e0d541-627e-4028-bca1-5fb981169cc2.doc

Nafziger, S., and Lindert, P. (2013). “Russian Inequality on the Eve of Revolution.” Retrieved Jan. 7, 2017, from: http://web.williams.edu/Economics/wp/Nafziger_Lindert_Inequality_Sept2013.pdf

Rosa, J. (2011). “The Causes of Serfdom: Domar’s Puzzle Revisited.” Retrieved Jan. 7, 2017, from: https://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=1833511

Semyenov, Y. (1944). The Conquest of Siberia. Dickes, E. W., Ed. London: G. Routledge & Sons, Ltd.

Tolstoy, L. (1887). A Russian Proprietor and Other Stories. Dole, N. H., Trans. New York: Thomas Y. Crowell & Co.

Tolstoy, L. (1852). The Cossacks. Maude, L., & Maude, A., Trans. Retrieved Jan. 7, 2017, from: http://www.fullbooks.com/The-Cossacks.html

Wirtschafter, E. K. (2008). Russia’s Age of Serfdom 1649-1861. Maldon, MA: Blackwell.

Maps, pics, references, and more at http://www.deadideas.net. Music and graphic design by Rachel Westhoff. Map by Adam McKithern.

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